Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear's office ruled this week that UK should release documents regarding its investigation into claims of sexually harassment by an associate professor.
In April, the Kernel requested documents regarding James Harwood, an associate professor of entomology. The university investigated Harwood amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Harwood denied any wrongdoing in the case.
The associate professor signed a resignation agreement with UK that allows him to receive pay and benefits until Aug. 31.
Through an open records request, the university initially provided the Kernel with some documents related to the investigation but chose to withhold what the university considered protected by open records laws.
The Kernel's second request asked "to obtain copies of all records detailing the investigation by the University of Kentucky or the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity of James Harwood and any allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault or any other misconduct by James Harwood."
UK denied that request, and the Kernel appealed to the Attorney General. UK claimed the documents should be exempt from public review because they are preliminary in nature and contain private information.
The Attorney General's decision said UK did not provide the documents or a summary of them to the office for inspection.
The decision said UK should provide the Kernel with documents, but should omit names and identifiers of the complainant and witnesses.
"The Attorney General's decision reinforced what we believed, that UK had no legal right to withhold these records," former Editor-in-Chief Will Wright said. "It is the university's duty to be transparent, especially in situations that concern public safety and public money. I hope UK will release the records rather than take this to circuit court, but I plan to follow through in any case."
UK can appeal the decision in circuit court. The Attorney General has recently ruled UK violated open record laws after a former medical student and the Lexington Herald-Leader appealed to the office.